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Artyness columnist Liza Mulholland basks in 'down-home ambience of acoustic music'

By Liza Mulholland

Don’t you just love it when creative-minded folk come up with great new ideas!

Liza Mulholland
Liza Mulholland

As I write this, I’m still basking in the warm glow of a wonderful evening at the inaugural session of Inverness Acoustic Music Club, in the most perfect setting of The Wee Bar on Ness Walk.

Friends Fionnag NicChoinnich and Brian O Headhra launched their new club to a sell-out audience with two sets of beautiful songs, comprising their own compositions and traditional, in Gaelic, Irish and English, along with their child Ro. Opening the floor to additional musicians for a song or two, we were treated to a variety of superb contributions from local singer Hamish MacDonald, folk duo Corralach, Skye’s Anne Martin and others.

The really nice thing is that it’s completely acoustic, so no loud PA, no-one struggling with feedback, no fiddling with microphones – just the nice old style, down-home ambience of acoustic music. It felt like being in Fionnag and Brian’s living room and what a treat it was!

The new Acoustic Music Club opened its doors.
The new Acoustic Music Club opened its doors.

Inverness for many decades had a thriving folk club but in recent years there has been little to carry that baton forward. Yes, there is loads of music in town pubs, lots of sessions, open mic nights etc but a lovely intimate space where local and international artistes can play acoustically to a listening audience? This is a most welcome development indeed.

And if you don’t know The Wee Bar, you really should check it out – it’s the most cosy, warm and inviting space, with comfy seating, an unrivalled view of the river and castle, good local food, a well-stocked gantry and a bartender who serves the most delicious cocktails – and that’s before a note of music!

The club will take place on the first Wednesday of every month. But don’t worry, even though it’s a ‘school night’, it’s not a late night and we were heading home by 9.45pm. It is ticketed, via Eventbrite, but seating just about 30 people booking early is recommended.

Now in March and feeling (despite the snow forecast!) that spring is around the corner, there are some fantastic opportunities available for both young learners and older performers.

Fèis Rois’s Junior Fèis will not be a residential event this year, but is being held in Dingwall, Tain and Ullapool in the Easter holidays, with classes open to young learners who can sign up and attend daily.

With the cost of living crisis affecting us all, being non-residential makes the Fèis more financially accessible for families and much less costly for Fèis Rois to run. Lots of fun activities and music are on offer as always so do check out the website for your youngsters.

For older musicians and performers, Under Canvas is returning and is open for applications for playing spots. So if you fancy a gig, the application form is on Eden Court’s website!

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